Purple Mountain Majesty ( Undimmed by Human Tears ) Six Photos

Purple Mountain Majesty ( Undimmed by Human Tears ) Six Photospurplemountain2purplemountain3purplemountain4purplemountain5purplemountain6

Here are six photos from my recent trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I shot them with a Holga on expired (2008) Fuji Astia 100 slide film. To achieve this purplish, pinkish tint, I cross processed the film by developing it in color negative chemicals. These six shots were taken on a hike I took with my mom around Hoosier Pass on the continental divide. The peak most prominently featured in these photos belongs to Mount Lincoln, the eighth highest mountain in Colorado. It stands at 14,295 feet / 4,357 meters.

Colorado is strikingly beautiful. It’s a place I’d be proud to call home, and perhaps I will someday. I can see why Katharine Lee Bates would be so inspired by the Rocky Mountains that she would write America the Beautiful, a poem which would become one of our nation’s anthemic, patriotic hymns. The lyrics of that song came quickly to mind as I loaded up the Holga with the expired Fuji Astia. I knew from the start that I’d be cross processing this particular roll of slide film to give those peaks a bold, purplish look. Also, to give some extra vignetting, I opted to pop out the batteries and square frame that’s inside the Holga. ( The batteries are just there to fire the flash – otherwise the Holga needs no batteries to take photos ). With the frame missing from within, I tend to get a bit more pronounced vignetting and darker corners in my pictures ( and sometimes light leaks as can be seen here ).

The last photo of this post shows my first attempt at shooting star trails with a Holga. I tried it a handful of times on my trip home with decent results, but the images are not exactly crisp. I prefer the star trail shots I got with the Rolleiflex, but the Holga images have their own charm and dreaminess. The cross processed Fuji Astia delivered red and pink streaking stars. I didn’t quite see it turning out in such a way, but this is the heart of experimental photography – the anticipation and surprise is always welcome : ) These six photos were captured with a Holga on expired Fuji Astia 100 film, cross processed in C41 chemistry. © Patrick Bresnahan

I’m going to leave you all with the lyrics to Katharine Lee Bates’ original poem from 1893. Enjoy!  *Note how ‘sea to shining sea’ is absent from the original writing.

America. A Poem for July 4. Katharine Lee Bates
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

6 thoughts on “Purple Mountain Majesty ( Undimmed by Human Tears ) Six Photos

    • Thank you! I was thinking the sky would look more purplish as can be seen in this night photo:


      But, I’m guessing the sky came out purple because there was light pollution coming from the nearby town. The star trail photo here was shot out in the deep Colorado country. Nearly all the light that was captured on that film came from the stars. I made sure to shoot after blue hour and before the moon came out. Perhaps if I had exposed the film longer I would have gotten that purple look in the sky…not too sure. I’ll have to keep experimenting : )

    • Well, I love Fuji Astia all around. If I have some fresh rolls, I’ll process them as slides…but once they get too expired I feel it’s nice to get experimental and cross process them. In general, I’ve noticed that expired slide films of all brands tend to age poorly. Colors get faded, images look dimmer, etc. So, cross processing them to get some wacky color shifts can put expired film to good use : ) As far as I know, only Fuji Astia gives purple and red shifts when cross processed. It’s a pretty unique look, and I’m certain I’ll be trying it again : )

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